As the rest of the nation struggles with the polar vortex, I rejoice in a triumph of good planning and board a flight to Honolulu.

Rental car upgrade with flipped down seats? Check. (Thanks, Enterprise!)

Last-minute Airbnb room? (And when I say last minute, I mean not confirmed until I’d gone out and hiked Diamond Head?) Check.

Flashy Specialized Allez set up and ready to roll? Check.

Now it’s time to explore the island.

The nice guy at The Bike Shop sent me to the Kona Mountain Coffee shop in Waikiki (and clued me in to where to find free parking, from which I biked an un- Strava-worthy block to the shop) for my first fix of decent coffee in over 24 hours.

I’d left home Thursday before dawn, with barely enough time to tuck all the things I’d forgotten (flip flops, iPad, charger) into my bag. Luckily, there was a Homeboy Coffee right at my gate. I did wonder how former gang members with police records were getting jobs behind security at LAX, but my flight was starting to board, so I ordered a scone and a macchiato, and clambered on the plane (I had to pull the Morrissey autobiography out of my bag to get it to fit in the overhead bin), and turned to airplane mode for takeoff. Alas, when we were airborne, I discovered that my “blueberry scone” was actually cinnamon

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20140124-111111.jpg and that “macchiato” to them means steamed milk marked with coffee. (Which, in my heart of hearts, I knew when I picked up the large cup and felt how heavy it was – I just didn’t have the heart/nerve to quibble when my flight was boarding and the line was long.)

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The agricultural declaration form and the tourism survey on the obverse side prompted some reflection: changing flights on the way to Australia in 1988, a Waikiki thanksgiving break a mere five or six years later (but it seems like a century passed in between), and a Maui work trip a decade ago (that feels like yesterday). All of which prompted reflection on where I was then, and a slew of what ifs as I deplaned and walked down the breezeway.

And then I saw the sign:

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Liquid Aloha, it said. Groggy, I was. Beer, they sold.

Foiled again!

Off to pick up the rental car, and then armed with a bakery recommendation and Apple maps, I headed to Leonard’s.

Yummy fresh fried dough with sugary toppings and gooey fillings… And iced coffee that tasted like instant.

It seemed as if, in this land of legendary coffee plantations, I’d never find a decent cup of Joe!

Finally, Friday morning, in the heart of touristy Waikiki, success! My .7 mile parking lot to shop ride isn’t exactly my regular Friday ride, but it felt like a lot more work to get that cup of liquid aloha.

Now I’m ready to roll…

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